The Candid Obama
by Charles Lemos, Fri Apr 15, 2011 at 07:13:21 PM EDT
Via CBS News:
In what he thought was a private chat with campaign donors Thursday evening, President Obama offered the most revealing behind-the-scenes account to date of his budget negotiations with GOP leaders last week.
CBS Radio News White House correspondent Mark Knoller listened in to an audio feed of Mr. Obama's conversation with donors after other reporters traveling with the president had left the room.
In the candid remarks, Mr. Obama complains of Republican attempts to attach measures to the budget bill which would have effectively killed parts of his hard-won health care reform program.
"I said, 'You want to repeal health care? Go at it. We'll have that debate. You're not going to be able to do that by nickel-and-diming me in the budget. You think we're stupid?'" recalled the president of his closed-door negotiations on the bill to fund the federal government until September.
Mr. Obama said he told House Speaker John Boehner and members of his staff that he'd spent a year and a half getting the sweeping health care legislation passed -- paying "significant political costs" along the way -- and wouldn't let them undo it in a six-month spending bill.
"When Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure, he's just being America's accountant ... This is the same guy that voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill -- but wasn't paid for," Mr. Obama told his supporters. "So it's not on the level."
We would all be better served if President Obama were this candid more often and not reserve such insights for those who can afford tens of thousands of dollars for a dinner with the President. No doubt, it is, nonetheless, very refreshing to hear what the President really thinks.